As I look at the hand carved polar bear figurine on my desk, I think about the devolving political situation in Russia. I think about what I loved about learning Russian; the fairy tale stories, the interesting old peasant houses, the Slavic gods like Stribog, the lyrical flow of the Cyrillic letters. It was exciting to figure out how different customs relate to a common humanity.
Now, I wonder if I will ever go to Russia again. I wonder if this wooden figurine has more freedom than the person who carved it. Now, politicians scream, war brews in Ukraine, and progress appears hopeless.
What is the core of liberty? The pencil writing on the bottom of my watercolor sketch says, "freedom and self-sufficiency"